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Mr and Mrs Smith

Year: 2005
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Cast: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughan, Angela Bassett, Keith David
You've probably heard about the sizzling chemistry and high-octane action of Mr and Mrs Smith, but what's unexpected is the comedy. It takes an essentially comic tale - a man and a woman whose boring, suburban marriage has crushed their desire out of them, but who (unbeknown to each other) are highly skilled assassins for a living - and creates a very funny side to an essentially by numbers action film.

We meet John and Jane (Pitt and Jolie) in marriage counseling during the opening sequence. They've been together for a number of years and the spark has well and truly gone out. When we see them in their well to do but cold home life we can understand why - anyone who's ever been in a relationship that wasn't working will nod knowingly to themselves at the little scripted conversations full of simmering impatience when they both want to scream and throw things at each other.

Jane is called away to work urgently one night, and as we see exactly what sort of job she does (dressing as a dominatrix to kill an arms dealer), John takes the opportunity to leave the house to carry out his own assignment on an Irish gangster.

The crunch comes when they're assigned to the same hit and cross paths. The consequences are disastrous as the marital cold war gets hot. It's part comic allegory about the battles of an unhappy marriage, part action thriller as Liman, Jolie and Pitt are saying (with a very funny script and highly stylized action film violence) 'think being an assassin is tough, try being married'.

But something unexpected happens, and when John and Jane see each other at their nastiest trying to do each other in, the passions that have been missing for so long are aroused, and after consummating their newfound (or rediscovered) desire, they're on the run from their former employers, who hide a dark secret about them both.

To writer Kinberg's credit, their joining forces to find out the truth doesn't do away with all the discord, so the film's most charming attraction doesn't disappear in an instant and leave a paramilitary Bonnie and Clyde. One of the funniest scenes is the breakneck freeway chase with John and Jane still fighting about all the things they haven't told each other (she admits the 'parents' she bought to their wedding are trained actors as she's an orphan, later she complains about him not giving her mother a birthday present, to which he exclaims 'your fake mother!')

The climax is the least interesting part of the movie as John and Jane hole themselves up in a department store with a SWAT team descending for a precision-styled shootout, but up until then it's a fun ride of pure fantasy. How so? How long would it take the average girl to get bored with Brad Pitt or the average guy to get bored with Angelina Jolie? Probably closer to a century than five years...

Silly, very funny, extremely sexy thanks to the unfairly beautiful leads, and in its own way sweetly romantic, it's worth seeing. If Jennifer Aniston has seen it, she'll understand everything.

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